How To Privately Browse In Chrome, Firefox, IE9, and Opera

Privately browse the internet on Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Opera

Some people take privacy to the extreme, but most of the time screen-watchers are the least of your worries.  When you use an internet browser, websites install cookies and temporary files.  Typically this isn’t a problem, most websites need these to operate or keep you logged in.  With the “private browsing” feature found in many web browsers, these cookies and files are still downloaded, but your browser will automatically clear them once you close the window.  It’s similar to what does, but it will only clear out the sites you visited while in the private mode.


In Google’s Chrome browser, private browsing is called “incognito.”  To start viewing in incognito mode all you have to do is Click the Wrench (Settings) button.

Tip: You can also use the hotkey Ctrl+Shift+P.

launch incognito mode on chrome

Chrome’s incognito mode can also be launched by Right-Clicking the Chrome tab on the Taskbar (for Windows 7 users).

taskbar incognito chrome launch


Version 4.*:
To start Private Browsing in Firefox, just Click the Firefox button at the top-left of the window.  From the drop-down menu, Select Start Private Browsing.

Tip: You can also use the hotkey Ctrl+Shift+P.

start private browsing in firefox 4

Version 3.6+:

To Start Private Browsing Click the Tools menu and Select Start Private Browsing.

Tip: You can also use the hotkey Ctrl+Shift+P.

start private browsing on firefox 3.6

Just like Chrome, you can launch Private Browsing from the taskbar with a simple Right-Click of the mouse (Version 4+ only, on Windows 7).

launch firefox private browsing from taskbar windows 7

Internet Explorer 9

Microsoft loves to be different—they call theirs InPrivate BrowsingClick the Gear (Settings) button and Select Safety > InPrivate Browsing.

Tip: You can also use the hotkey Ctrl+Shift+P.

start inprivate browsing in internet explorer 9

Internet Explorer 9 lets you Start InPrivate Browsing from the Taskbar by Right-Clicking the program’s tab.

ie9 inprivate browsing from taskbar windows 7


Starting Private mode in Opera is a lot like it is in Firefox, and when considering Firefox completely copied Opera’s design it makes sense.  However, Opera is unique in that it offers you two private options.  When you Click the Menu button at the top-left of the browser, Select the Tabs and Windows > option.  Here, you’ll be able to choose between launching an entire new Private Window or just a Private Tab.

Tip: In Opera the hotkey changes, you can use Ctrl+Shift+N to quickly launch a private window.

Opera private browsing

Unfortunately, Opera doesn’t yet offer a Taskbar option for the jump lists in Windows 7.

opera unable to private browse from jump list windows 7

That covers the four most popular browsers, if you think there is something we missed please drop a comment below!

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